The brewery boom has made it tough to keep up with new breweries in Milwaukee. Here's a (growing) guide to some of the newer craft beer spots in the area.
Lakefront, Sprecher Brewery and Milwaukee Brewing got in on the local brewery game early. And more recently, spots like Big Head, Biloba, Brenner, District 14 and Enlightened got the craft beer ball rolling. But since late 2015, the addition of breweries has been unprecedented. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the crowded (and still growing) craft beer scene.
Address: 700 W. Lexington Blvd.
Opened: April 2016
What’s on tap: Well-made German styles are in abundance, but don’t miss creations like Mike’s RyePL India Pale Lager.
Reason to go: German food, beer and a healthy dose of gemutlichkeit.
Who needs to go to Munich when you can take the short trip to Glendale? The Bavarian Bierhaus doesn’t just brew beer, it also provides a massive beer hall, tap room and beer garden to drink it in. Make sure it’s on your list for Oktoberfest activities.
Address: 909 E. Locust St.
Opened: August 2016
What’s on tap: Sproose 2 IPA is the stuff of legend thanks largely to the (literally)piney flavor provided by the addition of real spruce tips.
Reason to go: Sip on good beers and take in what happens when northern Wisconsin meets Riverwest.
Black Husky brings the Northwoods to Milwaukee. Owners Tim and Toni Eichinger moved their operation from tiny Pembine, where they started brewing (and earning acclaim) in a log cabin in 2010. Ample woodwork, a long and inviting bar and even a chainsaw carving of a beloved husky complete the aesthetic.
Address: 231 E. Buffalo St.
Opened: April 2017
Tap highlights: Baseball-themed brews like the tasty Straight Chedd Apricot IPA.
Reason to go: You like baseball as much as owners Tim Pauly and Dan McElwee.
The unique downstairs space in the heart of the Third Ward has Cream City brick walls and is adorned with baseball-themed beer labels made by Mindspike Design. Expect a fair share of pale ales to come out of the small brewery in the future.
Address: 2200 W. Mt. Vernon Ave.
Opened: February 2017
What’s on tap: An amber ale that’s a great take on the style, a delicious coconut porter and more.
Reason to go: The old Milwaukee Gas Light Co. building is an architectural gem.
Rinka Chung Architecture helped co-owner/brewer Jimmy Gohsman create an amazing taproom that mixes wooden tables, exposed beams and glazed brick. It’s all under the watchful eye of the shiny stainless steel of the brew room, which is in full view behind the small bar. The brewery opened with four styles but Gohsman has been rolling out new recipes frequently since then.
Address: 2018 S. 1st St.
Opened: January 2017
What’s on tap: A wide range of rotating styles. Try whatever IPA is on tap, but don’t miss Loop Station, an extremely drinkable ale made with agave nectar, lime peel and sea salt.
Reason to go: The taproom on the second floor of a warehouse is about as cozy as it gets.
Brewer Jack Borgardt and three of his brothers a large part of the band Eagle Trace and Borgardt’s bright future could be in both brewing and music. The beers here, often with musically inspired names, represent a wide range of styles and are well crafted. Expect Eagle Park to move to bigger digs in the not-to-distant future.
Address: 5300 S. 76th St.
Opened: January 2017
What’s on tap: Lots of things. Owner Mike Doble has 24 of his beers on tap.
Reason to go: A menu filled with standout bar food and two dozen beer options to wash it down.
It’s hard to find a weak pour among the 24 taps that Doble has flowing. Bigger brews like stouts, barleywines and Scotch ales shine, but don’t miss out on the tasty crispness of the Patagonian Hitchhiker Lager. Doble has already brewed a collaboration with Tampa standout Cigar City Brewing. That type of respect is earned.
Address: 7481 Hwy. 60, Cedarburg
Opened: March 2016
What’s on tap: A dozen or so Fermentorium brews covering a wide enough range of styles to satisfy most beer drinkers.
Reason to go: A friendly low-key feel that includes free Asteroids and Millipede video game tables.
Brewer Kris Volkman clearly has juicy IPAs down and The Fermentorium excels at the style. But keep an eye out for his one-off brews. The limited Pilot Series at the brewery lets Volkman play the role of mad scientist with often glorious results.
Address: 2108 N. Farwell Ave.
Opened: June 2016
What’s on tap: Reward Imperial IPA, a dank hop bomb that’s one of the best takes on the style you’ll find.
Reason to go: The whole package—great beer, great food and a great space.
The trio of owners at Good City knew what they were doing when they opened. The ambitious food menu has been a hit (the curry fries have already garnered a loyal following) and Reward won the 2017 Brewing News National IPA Championship in the imperial category. And, oh yeah, Good City managed to release its first barrel-aged stout, the excellent Density, and recently added a rooftop deck.
Address: 823 E. Hamilton
Opened: October 2016
What’s on tap: A variety of sours and wild ales, including barrel-aged varieties.
Reason to go: See above.
When Like Minds opened it combined its craft beers paired with a well-planned food menu by chef Justin Aprahamian. A recent change in plans removed food from the Like Minds picture, but cleared space for the barrel-aging program to expand. If that proceeds as planned, expect big things and big beers from Like Minds.
Address: 505 S. 5th St.
Opened: July 2016
What’s on tap: A dozen or so of MobCraft’s crowdsourced recipes, including the standout Bat$h!t Crazy Brown Ale.
Reason to go: The space is sleek and inviting regardless of whether you sit inside or out.
MobCraft made the move from Madison in the summer of 2016 and added the northern bookend on a 5th Street brewery scene that includes Urban Harvest and Brenner Brewing. The modern space is a good spot to try a slew of (often unusual) brews thought up by civilian beer drinkers around the state.
Address: 1037 W. Juneau Ave.
Opened: April 2017
What’s on tap: A mix of new and old recipes highlighted by Andeker German Helles.
Reason to go: Take a trip back in history to a Pabst Brewing complex that almost went the way of the dinosaur.
They don’t brew Pabst Blue Ribbon here, but they are recreating old recipes like Andeker and Old Tankard Ale. Those brews seem to be right at home in a stunningly renovated church that dates back to the late 1800s. The brewpub is a big part of the resurgence of an area that was nearly left for dead after Pabst pulled up stakes in 1996.
Address: 2244 W. Bluemound Rd., Waukesha
Opened: September 2015
What’s on tap: 2016 Great American Beer Fest gold medal winner Paradocs Red Imperial IPA.
Reason to go: Paradocs is one good reason, but so is a food truck in back that serves up excellent pizza.
Raised Grain opened just before Milwaukee’s 2016 brewery boom, but despite missing out on the hype associated with the brewery explosion Raised Grain has done just fine—a gold medal at GABF, the ability to draw long lines of beer fans for limited releases, etc. What started as a small spot in a Waukesha strip mall has expanded production to a 20,000-square-foot facility down the road.
Address: 1505 W. St. Paul Ave.
Opened: September 2016
What’s on tap: A slew of juicy IPAs and the occasional experiment gone right like Milwaukee Mule, a refreshing summer sour wheat ale made with ginger and lime.
Reason to go: The cool warehouse space has plenty of room for large groups and a beer garden that doesn’t disappoint.
Kevin Wright has an impressive brewing resume that includes a stint at the Master Brewing Program at UC-Davis and a long stay at Hangar 24 Brewery in Redlands, California. A fair amount of hops goes into the brew kettles here, and that’s a good thing.
Address: 1024 S. 5th St.
Opened: April 2016
What’s on tap: More than a dozen different brews, which is a lot considering Urban Harvest has a relatively small two-barrel system.
Reason to go: It’s cozy, and because it’s just a short walk to Brenner Brewery (706 S. 5th St.) and MobCraft (505 S. 5th St.) you can make a crawl out of it.
Urban Harvest feels like a friendly neighborhood bar. The intiving old storefront oozes character and includes plenty of Cream City brick and huge windows that look out onto a quiet Fifth Street. Brewer Steve Pribek is comfortable creating plenty of styles of beer, which is a good thing.
Address: 1825 S. 72nd St.
Opened: April 2017
What’s on tap: A variety of brews named after notable West Allis names and events. Try the Western Days Vienna Lager.
Reason to go: Owner Erik Dorfner is as enthusiastic about his job as anyone you’ll ever meet.
The first brewery ever to open in West Allis is tucked on the edge of a quaint ‘Stallis neighborhood. Dorfner, a native, brings a friendly corner pub vibe to his young brewery. With 6,000 square feet to work with expect Dorfner to expand his production and tap selection.